In the end, the St. Charles Parish Council didn’t have to look too far when it came to finding a replacement for former District 2 Councilman Shelley Tastet. The council unanimously voted in Tastet’s wife, Mary, on Tuesday night after failing to agree on three previous nominees.
Tastet was forced to resign in December for health reasons. Mary was nominated by Councilman Larry Cochran, who said that the wives and husbands of council members often know just as much about current issues as their spouses. While Mary Clulee, of Luling, and Carl Cantrelle, of Ama, were also nominated for the seat on Tuesday, Mary Tastet received unanimous support.
Mary said that seeking her husband’s seat seemed like the right thing to do in light of last week’s vote. Clulee, Cantrelle and Pastor Kendall Pierre were all nominated to fill the vacancy created by Tastet’s resignation. Neither nominee received the five votes needed to secure the seat. That’s when Mary decided to try for the open seat.
“Shelley wanted the selection of his replacement to be a smooth process, but it was chaotic,” Mary said.
Mary said she learned a lot by watching Shelley for the last six years and that she stayed informed on the issues her husband dealt with as councilman. However, she never imagined she would one day be on the St. Charles Parish Council.
“This is something I never thought I would do, but I believe it was the right choice,” she said. “But I will need to rely on Shelley to answer a lot more questions for me.”
Mary will serve on the council until a special election in April. She will be able to run for the council seat if she chooses to do so and the winner of the election will serve on the council through January 2016.